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Dad-to-be wins $1M in lottery

Bathroom break leads to winning scratch-off ticket

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:28 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013 2:20 p.m. CDT

DIXON – It’s no joke: On April Fools’ Day, a Dixon man won $1 million off a $30 scratch-off ticket he bought at the Super Pantry where he used to work.

John Bates, 31, stopped at the gas station to use the restroom and thought he would play the game while he was there.

“I’m the type of person, if I go in somewhere like that, I have to buy something,” he said Thursday.

He scratched off the ticket right there and then, and thought he won $1,000.

When the cashier gave him the claim ticket, though, it said he would receive $606,428, the amount after taxes are automatically taken out.

“When it came up with all of the numbers, I was like ‘what the heck?’, and it was $1 million,” he said.

“It’s still kind of a shock. I don’t think it’s all quite set in even now. I’m definitely happy about it. It’s not every day that this happens to somebody.”

The money will come in more than handy – he and his girlfriend are expecting a baby in June.

The game was the $3,000,000 Cash Jackpot. The customer pays $30 for the ticket and scratches off four rounds of games for a chance to win $1 million to $3 million.

Bates, the son of Sheryl Bates of Dixon, plays randomly, and this was the first time he won anything big, he said.

He worked at the station at 101 E. Everett St. from 2006 to 2008, and now works as a business analyst at Americold in Rochelle. He plans to invest his winnings, he said.

“This is awesome for me, because I’ve known him a long time,” Super Pantry manager Donna Pyse said.

The station, owned by Tri Star Marketing Inc. in Champaign, will receive $10,000, its 1 percent commission for selling the ticket.

Lottery officials will be at the gas station at 2 p.m. April 27 to present the winnings.

The winner of a $50 million Powerball jackpot announced Saturday, who bought a ticket at a Johnson Oil gas station in Freeport, still has not claimed the prize, said Mike Lang, spokesman for Illinois Lottery. That person has a year from the drawing date to claim it, he said.

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